Sometime over this weekend, while nursing a sore ankle, I'm guessing that Dexter Fowler joined the millions who have made The Avengers the one of the top box office hits in history, and took some inspiration from the cast of super-heros featured.. Either that or the "treatment" for his ankle involved new super-sceince that made him into the super-hero that we saw in two games on Monday. OK so maybe not, but at least I can dream. In reality, neither probably happened, so what did we see on the holiday double header?
Since the beginning of May, Fowler has benefitted from a .400 BABIP which has helped him to a very nice triple slash line of .327/.444/.673. While I'd agree that his BABIP from May is unsustainable over the course of the season, I'd argue that is was to be expected at some point. During his April slump, I had advocated patience with him because his batted ball profile, things like LD% GB/FB and HR/FB%, indicated that his BABIP should be much higher as well as a career BABIP to back it up.
It is also important to realize that in order for an average stat like BABIP or even simpler things like OBP to regress back to an expected level it requires a period of time when the player performs above the expected average. A .269 BABIP would never reach his career mark of .340 simply by hitting at a .340 level for the rest of the season. Over enough at bats it might get close, but it is generally not how you see regression take place. To help illustrate this point, let me use an overused statistical example, the coin flip.
If you flip a coin 10,000 times, you will expect in the end to be extremely close to a 50% heads/tails distribution. However, if you looked at the individual flips, you would also see extended stretches where either heads dominate or tails. The same is normally true when looking at baseball statistics, a .300 hitter does not get 3 hits in every 10 at bats. Instead he might have a 1 for 20 stretch then followed by a 8 for 10 streak.
So to get back to my original question, what did we see on Monday? I think we just saw the continued positive regression of Dexter Fowler's BABIP and the resulting production from that. Do I think Fowler is the unstoppable machine that we saw Monday? No. Nor do I think that he is the slave to the BABIP dragon that we saw in April. Rather he is probably closer to the average of those two then either extreme.
Join me after the jump for new tables and some more reading of the future.
Just a couple of quick notes, As you can see Fowler expected BABIP (xBABIP) and career BABIP (cBABIP) are almost exactly the same, while his BABIP trails a little bit so while his May line might be BABIP inflated, his season line of 134 OPS+ is not, and we might still even see a small bump in that from that tiny big of regression. I'm still waiting for Todd Helton to start to regress, he's had a consistently high xBABIP right in line with cBABIP almost the entire year while his actual BABIP trails significantly, a small part of that might be due to lack of speed at first but not that much.
Another person of interest for me is Wilin Rosario, his low average is obviously partly due to his high K rate, however it's also due to a BABIP that is .106 below his xBABIP. His cBABIP number doesn't carry as much weight because it's almost entirely made up of this season, so I'd expect him to have a nice period of regression as well.
On the downhill side, it seems that Colvin is finally coming back down to earth, so while it was fun to watch for a while it does indeed seem that even for a man with as beautiful swing as him a .400+ BABIP is unsustainable.
Finally here's the expected triple slash lines you would get if all the Rockies were performing right at their xBABIP level, as well as their actual levels of production.
As always, I hope you enjoyed some of this stuff. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer them.